David Salkeld
Public Art Letter Cutting Archive Video About Contact
David Salkeld Sculpture
Torque detail, Egyptian Hieroglyph-verb to go Torque, detail, Prussic Knot Torque detail, Elephant Entance Feature 'Torque' for Summerhill, Hartlepool
'Torque'
Oak
3.6 metres tall
Summerhill Visitor Centre, Hartlepool
Hartlepool Borough Council 2001


Commissioned to mark the entrance to the new Summerhill Countryside Park visitor centre off Catcote Road, Hartlepool. It is on a grassed area partially encircled by newly planted trees at the end of the straight approach road. At nearly four metres tall it is thus visible for some distance down this road.
The site has been linked with stone age, bronze age, iron age and Roman settlements. The Tees Archaeology unit were kind enough to provide me with information and photographs of finds made at the site as well as other visual sources such as geophysical maps. Images of some of these finds have been incorporated into the final work as carved relief panels.
Although there has never been any jewelry found at Summerhill, I became interested in pursuing the bronze age theme further by drawing on the forms of bronze age work as a starting point for the basic image of the design.
A number of torcs have been found in the British Isles. These were worn round the neck or upper arm and were often made from a gold strip, twisted along its length and then curved round into a loop.
The main upright of the Summerhill piece came from the stand of a tree with a"Y" fork at the top. I built onto this with three more sections keyed and bolted together to create a twisting form which returns back to the main stem.
This work is informed by many sources and indeed the final form owes something to the trees from which the timber came.
The carved panels contain imagery relating to the history of the site and activities undertaken at the countryside centre.

Explanation of Panels:
  • Archeological Finds:
    • Flint arrow-head
    • Roman goblet
  • Activities at the site:
    • Rock climbing/Prussic knot
    • Walking/Egyptian hierogliph-verb to go
    • Riding/Horse shoe
    • Archery/Bow
    • Orienteering/Compass rose
    • Tree planting/Tree
  • Elephant representing Elephant Rock, a former landmark of the Hartlepool coastline